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Lives of Doctor Wives: August 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Anyone other MS4s...

a complete wreck? I am sick to my stomach and crazy worried. I am suddenly questioning every phrase and word in my husband's application!

(Tomorrow is September 1, the first day you can submit residency applications - and for most competitive specialties it is important that you sumbit them on the first day!)

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There is a new poll up for your voting pleasure. :o)

Any comments on last week's poll about eating out?

I selected once a week, and I usually go on Brad's meeting night since he doesn't like eating out and I don't like cooking for just me and the kids. But I'm really lucky. For my birthday, my mom gave me a credit card to use up to $20 a week to eat out. I know. I'm blessed. Other than that, we very rarely eat out. Let me tell you though, that is one of the things I'm most looking forward to when we actually have money. I love eating out! 3 yrs, 3 yrs, 3 yrs....


Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Life of the Sleep-Deprived

I just wanted to share something I discovered this past weekend with sleep deprivation and how I now understand what my husband must feel like after his busiest call-shifts (and during his past residency). Months ago, we were invited to participate in a murder mystery party organized by some friends of ours in Seattle, Washington. We live in Indiana and were delighted to not only be invited, but also to be able to see our friends again. The last time we were in Seattle, our son was only about nine months old, and he's three years old, now. Because my husband had already taken a lot of vacation time over the past month, we decided to make this a VERY short trip. My husband was on-call Wednesday night, and he worked until 8 am on Thursday morning. He even did a delivery at 3:45 that morning! When he got off work, we drove an hour to the airport to catch a 12:20 pm flight to Washington. By the time we got there, it was 6:00 pm Seattle time, but 9:00 pm our time. Still, all of us (even our son!) were able to stay awake long enough to meet our friends for dinner and catch up on each others' lives. Of course, jet lag hit us hard on Friday morning, especially my son and I, causing us to wake up way too early. We were able to get through the day just fine, and did a lot of sight-seeing with our friends. We did take some time to relax in the afternoon before dinner, which helped because we didn't actually have dinner until about 9 pm (which was midnight, our time!). Then, yesterday morning rolled around, and boy, I really felt the sleep deprivation and jet lag affecting me. I could truly understand how my husband must feel some mornings after he's had a rough call night and must try to make up for the sleep he lost the following evening. Still, we were able to enjoy some time with friends sight-seeing around Puget Sound. The murder mystery party, which was lots of fun, started at 6 pm last night and lasted until 11:30 pm. Because my husband had to be back to work on Monday for another call-shift, we decided to try to get an early flight out of Seattle to have time to relax at home on Sunday evening. That meant, we had to catch our shuttle to the airport by 3:40 am for a 6 am flight! Oy! We didn't get back to our hotel after the party until about midnight, and then, we spent some time packing. Our son's sleep schedule was already thrown for a loop, and because he ended up going to the party with us, it was made even worse. Somehow, he took a long nap at the party, and we managed to get him back to sleep at the hotel. Though we talked about not even going to bed that evening, my husband and I went ahead and tried to sleep, but only for a couple of hours before we had to get up again. I was so tired when we got to the airport, I could barely think straight enough to type in our confirmation code for our boarding passes. I was irritable and snippy with my husband and my son, and I just wanted to get on the plane to try to get some more sleep. What an awful way to start the morning! We managed to get home safely, and we're now relaxing after our whirlwind trip. After last night and today, I now know what it's like to try to live on little-to-no sleep. It makes me wonder how my husband can function when it's 3:45 am, and he's trying to deliver a baby after having just done another delivery or having just checked on some sort of gynecologic emergency. Our husbands must really train themselves when they are in residency, kind of like for a marathon or an Olympic competition. It's amazing that they can think straight and prescribe the right meds and make the right decisions after having very busy days and nights and days all over again. I don't know, but I think my new-found appreciation for my husband's occupation might keep me from feeling bitter on those days when he comes home and doesn't want to do anything but sleep. My hat's off to you, gentlemen!

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Friday, August 28, 2009

In need of a pep talk

Hi girls!

I am having one of those rough nights where I need a little perspective. My husband is a 2nd year orthopedic resident. He is working 100 hour weeks and when he is home, he is either working on a presentation for work, reading for work or sleeping. He only gets 1 weekend off a month, which means that we don't even have the weekends to reconnect. I just feel so lonely and sad. We don't live near any family and I am alone a lot. I try to keep busy but the reality of the situation is that I miss my husband. He is the person I want to share my life with, and that is just not really an option right now. I try to be so supportive b/c I know he is going through a very tough program, but I feel lost. Who is supportive of me and the tough things I am going through? I have been with him for 10 years (married for 3) and I know that in theory, I knew what I was getting into. Honestly though, I never imagined it would be this hard. Please tell me I am not the only one who sometimes feels this way!! Also, please tell me what you do to feel better when you start to feel sorry for yourself like I am doing now :-).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Familiar sight?

How many of you see this on a regular basis?

Brad fell asleep while typing on his laptop last night. I know he was sleeping because he started that deep breathing thing. Poor tired residents...


Monday, August 24, 2009

hello everyone!

hello ladies, my name is melissa. I am engaged to charles, who is pgy 4 in general surgery. we met a little over a year ago. I was living in buffalo at the time (where I grew up) and he was (still is) in philadelphia. while we were dating, I (finally) finished my BA in psychology... it only took 10 years... and then I made the move to philadelphia. we just recently got engaged (about a month ago), and now I have the monumental task of planning a wedding (in a different state) without the help of my fiance. I am a full-time nanny and I love it. I watch 2 awesome kids, and I feel very fulfilled in my career choice. it wasn't what I had planned on doing once I actually finished school, but it was such a good job while I was in school that after a while I couldn't see myself doing anything else. charles is from taiwan, but grew up in california. he attended med school at vanderbilt, and has ended up in philly. thank heavens general surgery is almost over, but then we have 2 more years of cardiothoracic to go. hopefully the next 4 years will fly by... anyway, I am genuinely looking forward to gaining insight from you guys! I love what I've read so far.

Life after switching specialties

After about a month of limbo Dr.H got offered a spot in Anesthesia at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. I suppose the worst is over, now what to do with our new house....???


Okay ladies, a new poll is up! Seeing how often many of us eat without our hubbies makes me wonder if we are willing to cook on the nights he isn't home. :o)

Any thoughts or comments on last week's poll? I voted once or twice. I know once a week he has a meeting until 9 pm. And sometimes he'll be home late or get called in, but that is usually only once a week or less. How about you, ladies?


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Let's Play -- Family Fued

I am seeking advice on how to handle a sticky situation that has recently surfaced. Here is a brief background...My husband is PGY2 in orthopedic surgery and as all of you know the schedule is demanding and at times unpredictable. We have always been the type to go out of our way to see our family. For example, I just returned from a 2-week road trip (just me and my two boys - 3 years and 21 months). This trip included traveling by car over 2,000 miles, visiting 7 states and going out of our way to see as many friends and family as possible. I did this unselfish act to allow my children to spend time with family that they otherwise do not see, and would not see the entire 5 years of residency because no one will travel to see us. After my return, my husband and I made the difficult decision to not travel back home for the holidays (where I just returned from). Prior to this discussion, we had told our family we were coming home. He only has 5 days off, the first day being post-call. I want our holidays to be shared relaxing and allowing my husband to enjoy FINALLY have a few days off...not frantically traveling across country to get to family on both sides.

We have shared this decision with our family and now have the majority of them angry at us. I also have had several hateful e-mails from family that I did not have time to see on my most recent travels mentioned above. Again, no one accepts our offer to come visit us, no one agrees to meet at a location halfway, and no one has offered to travel our way for a random visit or holiday. We are expected to do the traveling. No one seems to understand the demands of a resident's schedule, or my schedule as a mother of two who is virtually raising two children and running a household alone. No one understands that financially it is difficult for us to travel long distances because of airline fare or gasoline for a vehicle, per diem expenses and care for our pet while we are away. I (we) have tried and tried to explain our lifestyle in residency. It has now come to a point where the lack of empathy or understanding is dividing our family, meaning our immediate family from our extended one far away. My husband works so hard and does the best he can, as do I. It isn't fair that his choice to become a physician is impacting our relationship with our family.

I would GREATLY appreciate anyone's input, advice, experiences with this kind of situation. I don't know if this is a common? I just want to take the right track on mending this situation, but at the same time make our family aware of that what is happening in our lives is what is impacting our decisions. And hopefully without any fighting, resentment or further damage to our relationship with our family. Thank you all for reading this and for your advice!
- Beth

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Let's Say a Howdy-doo to Cheri!

Hello Lives of Doctors Wives Family!!!

My name is Cheri and I have recently married Ian (an PGY1 ER resident). He is originally from Canada and I from Ohio. We met while he was in medical school at The Ohio State University. It was always my dream to end up on the east coast and I am very happy we matched in New Jersey yet am sad to leave my JOB, family, and friends in Ohio. I am going to start the process of obtaining my masters degree this winter while teaching elementary school. I am excited for our new life to start, yet have realized that we are more co-existing then actually living together. In reality, like all of you, I am excited for this indentured servitude experience to come to an end!!! I am excited to become a contributor of the site but more importantly an aquirerer of support during these extremely hard next few years when I have to give up my husband to his job.


Survivor Saturday - 1st Year Post-Training - Another Perspective

My apologies for such a late posting. It was my responsibility this week to put together our responses to your questions, and I really dropped the ball. That's what happens when you schedule three trips in one month!
Jennifer did a wonderful job answering Alexandra's question. She really nailed it on the head in terms of different practices available and what's offered. My response differs only in the type of practice my husband joined and what he agreed to when he signed his contract way back during PGYIV. At the time, we were living in a different state than our families, and we knew we wanted to move back closer to them. My husband started applying to various practices at some point during his third and fourth years of residency. There weren't a lot of positions available in the general area where we wanted to move, but he was lucky enough to find a practice that needed a sixth physician. I believe he signed his contract with them in October of his fourth year, and as Jennifer said, the paperwork involved with getting him ready to start working was nightmarish. The office wanted him to begin practicing in July after he graduated, but because they were still waiting on a lot of his credentialing to go through, he didn't start until the beginning of August. There is only one hospital in our town, and it was the hospital that gave the office the money to hire another physician. For his first two years, he's been a salaried employee. The office pays for his malpractice insurance and other expenses until he finishes his second year with them. Next year, when he begins his third year, he'll have the opportunity to decide whether he wants to stay and buy into the practice. Once he buys in, he'll be paid for the number of patients he sees, and he'll have to share the expense of malpractice insurance and office equipment. Since there are five other physicians in the practice, the expense will probably be nominal, but we will see a decrease in his pay at first, since he will no longer be salaried. We're not worried about it at all, though. He also joined a group of physicians who own shares in the hospital's operating room, so he gets some pay from that as well. When he signed on with the practice, he received a signing bonus from the hospital as well as a moving stipend. I was so grateful that we were able to use a moving company, instead of trying to move everything ourselves. I highly recommend it if the opportunity presents itself. It's a lot less stressful when you can have someone else do the packing and moving for you! We used much of the signing bonus he received later to put money down on our house, which helped keep our monthly mortgage payment low. After a year of practice and saving money, we refinanced, which lowered the payment even more and got rid of the personal mortgage insurance (PMI) that we had to have when we first bought the house. In terms of the amount of time he has to be home and spend with us, it's been so much better than residency. All of the physicians in his practice share patients, so when one of them is on-call, that physician is the ONLY ONE on-call. When B is in the office, he can come home in the evening with the knowledge that he's done for the day. When he's on-call, he takes care of all the surgeries and deliveries in the hospital. After his shift is over, he's post-call and completely off for the rest of the day! Also, he's only on-call one weekend a month and one Friday/Saturday morning a month. He was very lucky to find a practice with such a relaxed work schedule. We might not see him for an entire day during the week, but at least we'll have the next day to spend with him. Finally, he gets a lot of vacation time each year, and as long as he puts in for it in advance, he has some control over when he can take it. I was a little worried about August, since we planned three trips this month. However, he let the scheduler know ahead of time, and he was able to get off all the time he needed. We went to Charleston, South Carolina, at the end of July/beginning of August; we spent last week at a game convention in Indianapolis; and this Thursday, we'll be going to Seattle to spend some time with friends. Even though my husband is usually pretty busy when he's on-call, I try to remind myself that he'll be home the next day and will be able to spend time with my son and I, which is something he could never do when he was in residency. Even though there are always negative aspects to any job, I think being in practice is much better than residency. I wish you all luck in the future. Remember that your day will come!


Survivor Saturday - 1st year post-training

Someday, believe it or not, you will "Be Done." Oh, glorious day!

Alexandra recently asked us

I'm very curious still about the transition from residency to practice. How did your husbands get their jobs, what benefits have you seen offered at different places (ie. loan repayment, moving stipend?), and what kind of reality check did you get when you saw that first paycheck? Also, how much have time constraints changed now that they are practicing vs med school and residency. I think a lot of us need to hear about the future sometimes to keep us motivated for the payoff. And I don't mean the money, I really mean how has family life improved/gotten worse.

No one told me what to expect when we Were Done, and some of it took me by surprise. I can only speak from my experience, and I know that the logistics of your own experience will vary based on the kind of practice your husband joins (private vs. academic – i.e., a staff position at a teaching hospital, usually involving research) and the practice itself (big group vs. small group, metro area vs. rural area), not to mention the specialty itself. My husband joined a private practice with two other specialists in his same field, and we live in a large metroplex.

The best way for your husband to find a job is by word-of-mouth through the department where he is training and his specialty’s national academy. As a rule of thumb, if a practice has to resort to a headhunter to fill a position, that usually means they have had a hard time finding someone, and that may not be the place you want to be. During your husband’s final year of training, he should have a job secured by the late fall/early spring. The main reason for this timing is the obscene amount of paperwork involved in starting his practice. He will need to be approved for every insurance plan accepted by his practice (called “credentialing”), and if he is going to practice in a city with more than one hospital, he will need to apply for hospital privileges at each one. If you are moving to a different state, he will need to study for and take a state licensing exam. All of this paperwork takes months to complete and receive approval, and without it, he can’t start seeing patients. A good office manager or department secretary will be vital in this process. (Send her flowers.)

As far as things like loan repayment and moving stipends, that will depend on the practice. Generally, larger established practices will probably offer more of these things than smaller ones. We did get a moving stipend (oh, blessed joy! I didn’t have to pack a single thing!), and he was also offered a series of “signing bonuses” for having met deadlines on the aforementioned paperwork. That was so exciting. I went to Talbot’s and bought something that wasn’t on the clearance rack just because I could (I don’t think I’ve done that since then, but it sure was a rush!). My one request, though, was new bedroom furniture. We slept on a metal frame with a mattress & boxspring and put our clothes in hand-me-down dressers for 8 years, so our first big purchase with the post-training paycheck was a bed and dresser from Ethan Allen. However, we saved most of the bonus money so he could take some time off between his graduation and his first day of work - the bonuses covered our living expenses for almost two months. All of those bonuses and stipends just added to his buy-in amount (explained below), so it came out of his pocket in the end, but it was still really nice.

As far as Paycheck Reality Check, the pay increase is really great, but we don't really notice that big of a difference month-to-month because we have a bigger house with a bigger mortgage and bigger bills. Loan repayments will take a big chunk of that paycheck, too. Our kids are older now and involved in more sports and activities (which all cost money), and they would not have been able to do all that they do during training. We definitely have more freedom to do more fun things that we couldn't do during training, but we still have to be careful and frugal.

Most groups will offer a period (usually about a year or so) of a “try-it-out” time with a set salary (yes, probably double or triple the amount of his last year of training, minus an unbelievable amount for taxes and malpractice insurance). During that time, he can make sure the practice is a good fit for him. The reality is that about ½ to 2/3 of new practicing doctors changes practices within 5 years. (Both my husband’s partners came from a different practice before starting their own, so I told him that they have taken care of the 2/3 and we can stay right where we are, thankyouverymuch). But the relationship your husband will have with the docs in his practice will be very much like a marriage, and he needs to make sure that it works for everyone.

After the trial period, he may be offered a partnership. This will involve a very expensive buy-in where he literally buys a fraction of the practice’s assets and charts. He could either take out yet another loan and complete his buy-in immediately, or (as we did) take an amount out of his paycheck every month until it is paid off, and then he will be a full partner with profit-sharing benefits.

The biggest shocker, though, was the time and frustration involved in building his practice. It was a solid year before he had full clinic and surgery schedules. He spent a lot of time shaking hands with primary care providers and other referring physicians just to get his name out there. He was pretty frustrated for a while when it wasn’t moving along as fast as he would have liked it to, so my job was to keep encouraging him and being as emotionally supportive as I could be. I know we all complain a lot about how hard it is on us when our husbands are working so much and are so busy and so tired, but when he doesn’t work as hard because he’s only seeing 8 patients a day – well, that also takes its toll.

The other big adjustment for him was learning how to run a small business. All of the payroll, staffing, billing, collecting, insurance, and other overhead cost issues are someone else’s responsibility while he’s in residency, but once he’s in private practice, and especially once he’s a full partner, he has an ongoing education in business. It adds a whole new level of stress on him, and again, requires an extra measure of his wife’s support. Every practice will be different – but I’m speaking from our own experience.

As far as time – take heart, ladies, because it DOES get better. It’s still a lot of hours and stress, but I’ve found that now he has more control over his schedule. He can take as much vacation time as he’d like (but taking vacation means not seeing patients + paying overhead = losing money. Getting him to take time off during the first couple of years was really hard, but he’s better about it now). He’s able to schedule time off or make sure that he’s not on-call for important family events. He joined a practice with two other guys who also have young kids, and as a group, they decided that they are going to work hard and serve their patients, but they are also going to go home and eat dinner with their families, coach Little League, etc. There are still nights when he doesn’t get home until 7:00 or has to go into the hospital at 1 a.m. or is on his way home when he gets called in – but I think those occasions have been fewer now than they were during training.

I apologize for rambling on for so long! But I wish someone had told me all of these things before he finished training, so I hope this was helpful for you and gave you some kind of idea about what to expect.



Let's Welcome Leah

My name is Leah (AKA JumpingJane) and my SO is a PGY2 General surgeon. I have been around the blog for a few months now, making comments here and there. I am originally from Kansas, but met J in Texas while I was obtaining my masters and he was in med school. After he was matched in DC. I finished up my masters and joined J just recently in June. Its an interesting ride moving half way across the country with out any family or a job. I appreciate this site immensely. It makes me feel a little less alone. I am lucky that my boyfriend is willing to do the dishes and help clean on his days off, so the being woken up every day at three am and his psycho cat are annoyances I live with. :) Anyway, Hello! and Thank you for being out there!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Financial Resource

Physicians in Training just posted about a great resource on managing debt from medical school. It's called FIRST- Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools. They have information for both medical students and residents. I've just skimmed it, but it looks like a good source of information!

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Pain Management Fellowship

We have endured the non-match Pain Management fellowship application/interview process and have accepted a position in Lubbock, TX.  We have done med school and residency here, so I guess we will be here for another 2 years.  The obvious plus side is I don’t have to move or sell my house just yet.  The down side?  The dust and not getting to see another state.

Has anyone else done all their medical studies and training in the same city? Just curious how common this is?

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Suzanne (Mrs.D)

Hello everyone!
My husband is a first year resident in Internal Medicine. We moved to Cleveland a couple of months ago from Rochester (and I know some med students who are still in Rochester, if anyone is applying there). Both sets of parents live far away, we have no kids and no pets, and I work from home. It's been interesting to deal with this big change in our lives without much of a support system nearby. I found this forum shortly after I started my own blog, and it's so nice to have a community of people all going through the same thing! I've enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts so much - and checking out some of the other ladies' blogs.


Hello Elisabeth!

My fiancé (soon to be husband in October) is MSIII in Cleveland, Ohio. He’s a native to Columbus, Ohio and I grew up in Maryland. We met while working at a life sciences consulting firm in Boston, MA. I still work at that firm in Boston 50% of the time and the other 50% I spend in Cleveland with my fiancé working remotely. So glad to have found you early in this journey. I’m happy to provide local tips in Cleveland and Boston as I’ve gotten to know both areas pretty well. My fiancé hasn’t chosen a specialty yet but I’m looking forward to at least being the in same state full time in residency!
-E (that’s what all my friends call me)


Count Me In - Amy

Hi Everyone!

I’ve been subscribing to this blog for a while and feel it’s about time I jump on the bandwagon and introduce myself! My name is Amy and my boyfriend of 5 years is an MSII at OSU. We moved to Tulsa last year from Boulder, CO where we met during undergrad but I am originally from upstate NY. I’ve worked in magazine publishing since I got out of college and enjoy the outdoors and spending time with my yellow lab (yes, I’m one of the people who voted “fur babies are all I need, thanks” on the survey).Neither one of us has any doctors in the family so this world is completely new to us and all of your support and advice is wonderful. The transition to school has been tough since we moved to a completely new state and don’t have any family nearby. However, we’re finally starting to find our place in Tulsa. A big thanks to Lex for helping us all get connected!


Just have Faith

My name is Faith. My husband, Spencer, is an MSII at OSU. We've been married for over four years and have three children: Benjamin (Benny) is 3, Anderson (Andy) is 18 months, and Lilia is 2 months. Starting Med School with two kids was quite an experience. We moved away from both our families and had to figure everything out in a new area - and I had to do a lot of it alone with two young kids (my Sam's Club membership card has Andy's face below mine because he was in the baby bjorn!). We know we are where we're supposed to be doing what we need to and we're doing our best to enjoy the ride!


Last Poll

So I thought we might want to discuss our last poll a little. Not to be nosy, but who wanted 8+ children??? Even 5-7 would scare me, so I'm just curious.

Our goal has always been 4, but we have discussed that if baby #3 ends up being another boy, that we would probably just adopt a little girl. I'm already the only girl in our household, with a hubby, 2 little boys, a male cat and male dog.....I'm wayyyyy out numbered!!

If you want to, feel free to share your story!!

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Let's Tidy Up the Nursery....I mean blog!

Sorry, I'm watching Mary Poppins right now with Grant, hehe.

We just wanted to touch base with everyone and let you know that we are glad you are here. Our hope is that this blog offers you encouragement, inspiration, and a place of refuge in this time of crazy schedules, overwhelming choices, and unknown futures.

We also wanted to welcome all our new contributors! This past week our requests to join have gone up quite a bit and we are so excited that the word is getting out that we are here for wives/girlfriends/fiances of medical student, residents, and doctors. Please continue to share this resource with other at your schools, programs, and hospitals. This is a rough time and anyone who needs a place to chat, vent and ask questions is more than welcome to hop on board.

If you haven't had a chance to give us an intro about yourself please do! If you have posting privileges please post if yourself, if not please email it my way and I will post it for you (alexandra.howard@yahoo.com)!!

Also, if you have a question for the group or a topic that you want posted just email it and we will get it posted up on the blog for all to see!

Again, thanks for joining us and let us know if you need anything!!!

-Lives of Doctor Wives Administrators


Where in the world are you???

With all the new people here lately, I thought this might be fun!

Please tell us where you are living. You don't have to mention the city if you don't want.

Also, if your hubby did an internship and want to share if you lived somewhere else, then feel free to add that to the list.

Or feel free to add the medical school if that is where you are now. (or just add it anyway.)

I thought it might be fun to see if we have any connections. I'm also willing to bet there may be people in the same town that don't even know each other!

So, I'll start. We are currently living in the Kansas City area on the Kansas side. My husband did an internship year in Corpus Christi, TX. Before that, he attended OSU med school in Tulsa, OK.

Your turn!! :)

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Keepin' On Top of the Process

Can anyone offer any advice as to HOW TO SURVIVE the last year of med school?! My husband is away right now (and will be for the next three months) doing an audition rotation. While I get to talk to him every night, I'm finding it frustrating that we only chat for about ten minutes because he is so tired. I miss him so much, and I know he misses me. Also, I'm quite nervous about the whole match thing - it worries me to no end. He hasn't scheduled any interviews just yet, and is working on his online application, but I'm such an 'on top of everything' gal that it is hard for me to not constantly ask him if he has everything done. How can I survive?! Any words of wisdom would be ever-so appreciated! :)
Frantic in VA,

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hello Daphne

Hello! My name is Daphne and I am happy to be a part of this awesome blog. What a blessing to have other ladies to talk to that completely understand what it means to be married to a dr. Quick thanks to Jennilee for informing me about this site!

I have been married over six years now to my husband who is a PGY5 in orthopedic surgery @ Loma Linda University Med Center. We met and began dating before he was accepted into medical school. I was in washington while he started med school @ Loma Linda in CA. It was a trying 2-year long distance relationship. We would often times go for 8-weeks without seeing eachother, but I think it made our relationship that much stronger. In June of 2003 I turned 22, graduated from SPU and got married, all within a week. I had no clue what life would be like, but I was happy to finally share it with my husband. The past six years have definitely been a time of learning and compromising for me. It has by no means been an easy road, but not one that I wouldn't change either. With time my husband and I have learned to make this anything but ordinary life work and I have learned to adapt (slowly at times) to whatever rotations, upcoming tests, conferences, calls, etc. may come our way. I think I have found comfort knowing that even the worst rotation never stayed constant, there was always a light at the end of the tunnel (not always so bright, but better).

We have two precious little girls. Ella is 3 1/2 and is just like her daddy. Chloe is 17 months and is quite the momma's girl. Both have learned to adjust to daddy's "work" schedule/lifestyle. I am currently a stay @ home mom with them. Ella was born during internship year which forced me to become more independent and learn that I had to do it (all the things that come with being a mom and running a household) by myself, or it just simply would not get done. I can appreciate that now, but at the time it was extremely frustrating! It still is a learning process every single day for both me and my girls, but we make it work thanks to our Faith in God and our incredible family and friends!!

My husband will be completing his residency in July of 2010 and will go on to do a one year fellowship in upper extremity/hand at USC.
I am looking forward to sharing this journey with you all and excited to see where it will take us!



Please Welcome Katie!!

Hi y'all!
I'll keep it short in sweet. My name is Katie and I am a newbie to this whole blog world. I just moved to the gulf coast of Florida with my boyfriend, of over two and a half years, while he begins his first year of osteopathic medical school. I am very excited for this new adventure in our lives, and am grateful for a site like this! I've been reading a lot of the posts, and appreciate everyone's experiences and advice. I created a blog of my own to keep my friends and family up to speed with our new life. I hope some of you will pop in from time to time, as I am always open to new ideas and suggestions. Thank you and talk soon!


Any Questions For The Survivors?

Kathi, Jennifer, and I would like to answer more of your questions this Saturday. If you have anything you'd like to know about "the other side" after medical school and residency, just leave your question in the comments section, and we'll pick one or two to try to answer as honestly as possible. We're each in different stages of the "survivor" mode, so I think our responses relate well to where we are in our time of life. We know that there was a question recently about surviving a long distance marriage/relationship during residency. Unfortunately, none of us ever experienced that. If any of you would like to share your own situations and how you've handled them, please feel free to leave us a comment or e-mail us, and we'll add your response to one of our posts.
Hope you're all surviving!
Amanda, Kathi, and Jennifer--the "Survivor Saturday" gals


Howdy Beth!

I am so excited a friend introduced me to this blog! It is so refreshing to have a place where everyone understands what you are going through. My name is Beth and my husband, Matt, is a PGY2 in Orthopedic Surgery. He was a physical therapist for 5 years before entering medical school, so we are a bit older than the "traditional" resident and wife. We are in Greenville, South Carolina (moved from Kansas) in a community-based program that has also recently been university affiliated. It is a very busy hospital that serves a large region. We are blessed to be in such a beautiful location in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, and be in a program that is very social, supportive and family friendly. Speaking of family, we have two boys...a 3 1/2 year old and a 21 month old. My oldest son was born MSII, and suprised us with Down Syndrome. He needed a lot of medical care including open heart surgery, but now is doing fantastic and in school! He was born just a few months before Step 1, so it was a very stressful time for us. My youngest was born fall of MSIV just in time for my husband to be gone all of the time traveling for interviews! Again, it was stressful and busy, but I think all of it prepared us well for juggling residency.

I practiced as a pediatric occupational therapist for almost 10 years before deciding to stay home once residency began. It was a HUGE adjustment for me, but after about a year I am finally adjusted and enjoy staying home. We have four more years to go, plus fellowship, but we are truly enjoying our time in South Carolina and have met so many wonderful people in residency that are and will always be dear friends. I am excited to read and learn more on this blog, and get to know all of you!

Beth Hollenbeck


Welcom Sharon!

Hi My name is Sharon Robinson.

My husband is a family medicine physician in Lubbock, Texas. He started med school in 1990 at the age of 41 at Texas Tech School of Medicine. At that time, our oldest daughter was a freshman at Texas Tech, our youngest daughter was in the 5th grade and I was a first year PhD student in Experimental Psychology.

Oh, how I wish there were blogs such as this back then. My husband is a solo FP in Lubbock. He is also does emergency medicine, is on adjunct faculty at TTUHSC, is medical director of a school local school district, is president elect of the medical society and is medical director of a small rural EMS. I am an experimental psychologist who does not practice anymore. I also have a degree in Finance and I run his medical practice. I spent several years as a hospital accountant for Parkland Hospital and Harris Methodist Hospital in Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively. I am a very active member of the medical alliance locally and at the state level. I serve on the TMA Council on Practice Manangement and on the TMA ad-hoc HIT Committee.

As if I did not have enough to do, I decided to return to school (for the upteenth time) and pursue a second degree BSN at TTU School of Nursing. This is a sixty hour course cirriculum completed in 12 months. After I finish the 2degree BSN, I will start in the Nurse Practitioner Masters Program and should complete that in 36 hours. I might also add that the 41 year old medical student is now a 61 year old solo FP and the "wife" is 56 years old. We run rings and circles around not only our age peers, but those much older. My husband is a faculty mentor to MSI at TTUHSC. Needless to say, they send us the "old ones" to nurture.

I would love to be a contributor to your blog. Let me know if I can be of help. I am on Twitter as Greendaisygirl, Facebook, LinkedIn and Plaxo if you want to check me out.

Sharon Robinson, BBA, MALubbock, Texas


Introducing: Sara C

I've been reading all the posting on this blog all weekend and am astonished by all of the wonderful information and support you all have given so many through this blog.

My name is Sara and I'm dating an MSIII in Arizona. We've been together for 3 1/2 years - through the MCAT, applications, boards, and now moving on to third year rotations - he's thinking emergency will be his field. I have a master's in university administration and work at the public university in town. With so much time spent at the University, I'm now headed back for my PhD this fall. With both of us needing support and lacking time, I'm excited to keep up with all the wonderful insights posted here. I've already put some of your dinner time suggestions into practice.

Sincerely, Sara Cate


Monday, August 17, 2009


My husband (MSIII) just started taking call over night this month. I began to wonder about the different rules for what "call" actually is in different types of facilities. Is there less call as a resident or attending in a university hospital vs community hospital? What residency year in orthopedics is the worst for call? Does it just depend on which program you are in? Thanks for the input ladies!!
P.S. Any tips on something special to do with the kids on the nights daddy isn't home for bed time?

Interesting info on health care reform debate

BY NO MEANS am I trying to stir up a heated debate here about health care reform. I think most everyone will agree that something has to be done. What that will be remains to be seen. In the meantime, I received this email with some pretty straightforward and reasonable requests from the Texas Medical Association. (The first part is about their information campaign - skip down to the middle for specific issues.)

Let's keep the comments kind, ladies.

Hello - Introducing Myself...

Hello wives! I wanted to introduce myself - I just found this lovely blog and became a contributor. My name is Brittany and my husband is Joe. He is a PG1 in Anesthesia. We've just begun the journey of residency, but actually we met when we were both undergraduate students. I can tell you firsthand how long and interesting this journey has been and there's plenty more to come I'm sure! As for myself, I have an engineering degree and I am currently a contractor for the government and I travel a lot for work. I'm looking forward to learning about each of you :)


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Intro from Ash H!

Hello ladies! I just stumbled across your blog and I can't express the absolute joy I am feeling! My husband (married one year) just started MSII. I am also working 2 part-time jobs, and pursuing my Master's in Social Work. I start my internship this Fall, so I will be working 3 part-time jobs! At this moment, I am much busier than my husband. However, that is bound to change! We are waiting until I am done with my MSW to start a family. By then, it will be time for PG and we will relocate to a new city to start a new adventure. I am so pleased to meet you all!



I received this email and thought maybe some of us could share our stories. Go check out the blog and if you are interested email me and I can send you her contact info!

Good morning ~WOW...what a fantastic blog! I know how unique and challenging your situation is as Dr.'s wives - not first hand but watching my cousin and her husband through those years of internship and establishing a practice. If you, or any of your blog team members would be willing to share your stories in our community blog - which is for newlywed women - we'd love to have your input and insight.We have a variety of topics being addressed (military wives, 'older newlywed', etc) but none from your perspective. If you have any interest please let me know. Here's a link to our blog so you can check it out. I wish you all the most wonderful lives and think the idea that you are finding strength together is fantastic - which is what we hope to do with our site as well!http://www.shejustgotmarried.com/modules/blog

Denée Founder, She Just Got Married (dot com)

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Survivor Saturdays - Advice to a Premed Student

I received an email a few weeks ago (some of you may have gotten the same one) from a young premed college student asking for advice on balancing a medical career with a healthy family life. He is seriously dating a girl who has expressed some reservations about becoming a doctor’s wife, and he’s wondering if pursuing a career in medicine is worth the sacrifice of time with his future wife and family.

It took me two days to compose my reply as I considered all of his questions. Do you feel like you get enough time with your husband? If so, how has your relationship been strained and do you think you would be significantly happier if he was able to spend more time with you? Also, I would like to know if your husband is able to be there for your kids and how they have been affected by his career choice. Most importantly, if you could go back in time and choose a different career for him, would you?

Wow. Would I go back and do anything differently? If I could have, would I have chosen a different career for him? That question has never really occurred to me before. Sure, we joke about it in the middle of a slam-your-head-against-the-wall call weekend, but I have no doubt that what he does for a living is precisely what he was gifted and called to do, and he would have been miserable doing anything else.

So here’s my reply to Mr. Future Doctor. I hope you, too, can glean some nuggets of wisdom from one who has been where you are, struggled through it, and come out on the other end with a stronger marriage.

Dear Future Doctor,

First of all, I hardly consider myself an “expert”! I’m still learning, even after 13+ years. But your girlfriend is correct: it does take an extraordinary woman to be a doctor’s wife. It is a crazy life at times, and it will demand a lot from both of you. She will need a good support system of friends and other doctor’s wives, as well as her own career and/or interests to fulfill her. But I never, ever wish that my husband had chosen a different career. Being a doctor is what he was gifted for and called to do, and I can’t imagine him doing anything else. For as stressful as it is sometimes, I think his life as a doctor has forced us to have a stronger marriage than we would have had otherwise.

My husband (Michael) and I started dating during our sophomore year of college, and I transferred the next year, so we spent most of our dating years long-distance. After we graduated, he started med school in July and we were married the following Christmas on his break. Both of us will tell you that those first years of marriage were some of our hardest, but we wouldn’t go back and do it differently – other than maybe being a little more loving and understanding of each other. I remember both of us saying that it is probably easier to be married during med school than dating because you have more built-in time together (on study breaks, mostly)…but it is still really, really hard. The good thing about being married at the beginning of training is that you get used to it – we didn’t know any differently, and we still don’t. This is just what we do, and the crazy lifestyle has always been normal for us, so it doesn’t seem so crazy. Michael’s brother, who is an orthopedist, and his wife married towards the end of residency, and I think her adjustment was much harder than my own because she was thrown into the middle, whereas I had all those years to grow into it.

As far as spending time together, that will depend on what phase of your training you are in and what specialty you choose. Some months are going to be much harder than others. I think one of the hardest times we had was when he did two weeks of nights at the ER during med school. But, again, we adjusted. We learned to take the small amounts of time that we have together and maximize them. During residency, for example, when Michael was on-call, the kids and I would meet him up at the hospital cafeteria for dinner then go play at the playground next to the children’s wing…and they LOVED it! Spending time together will also require sacrifice on your part. During med school, Michael would go to class, then study until I got home from work, and when I got home, he would put the books down, eat dinner with me and spend time with me, then he would stay up after I went to bed to study some more. Throughout training, he sometimes had to forego that extra hour of reading or studying, or he would choose to sleep less, in order to make our marriage and our family a priority. (On my part, I had to understand that before his exams or before he took his boards, I wasn’t going to see much of him for a while – but that we would celebrate when the exam was over.) Even now that he is in practice, he will go into his office at 6:30 a.m. to dictate his charts or catch up on paperwork so that he can leave the office in time to eat dinner with us that evening – or make it to a soccer game, or pick up our daughter from her dance class.

Would I be significantly happier if I had more time with him? Hmm. I suppose I would. Who wouldn’t? Even if he were an accountant with an 8-5 job, I would still want more time with him. But I am very happy and fulfilled and satisfied in our life together. I think we have built a great marriage – thanks in large part to all the lessons we’ve learned during the years when we struggled and the sacrifices that both of us choose to make because we love each other and are committed to making our marriage work.

You are years away from choosing a specialty, but the priority of your marriage and family will – and should – play into your decision. My husband chose pediatric ophthalmology for several reasons – he truly enjoys what he does, he’s able to diagnose a problem and fix it – but ophtho is also one of the more family-friendly specialties. Many other specialties are the same; you’ll discover which ones during your med school clinical rotations. The demands on his time aren’t as great as some of the other specialties (even though it’s still pretty demanding), and that was important to him. So know that if you do decide to pursue a medical career, there are options out there that will allow you to have a fulfilling career and a healthy family life.

Our kids, too, have never known differently. They know that when Daddy is on-call, we might not see him, and that’s OK. But when he is here, he is 100% here, and he is an amazing dad – and they are great, well-adjusted, happy kids. They adore him. He is not able to make every swim meet, soccer game, and school performance, but at this point in his career, he is able to shape his schedule around the really important things and take time off/make sure he’s not on-call for dance recitals, birthdays, etc.

I could spend a lot of time telling you about the challenges of each stage of training, but truthfully, having a happy medical marriage largely depends on the commitment and love you have for each other. There will definitely be seasons of your marriage and your career when you will not have a lot of time to spend together, but time itself really isn’t the big issue – it’s what you choose to do with the time you do have together. The circumstances will undoubtedly be really hard, but if you go into the marriage with the conviction that divorce is not an option, if you learn to communicate with each other and lovingly share your frustrations, if you can laugh together even when your life is stressful – only then can you have a successful marriage, no matter what career you choose. The fact that you are already considering how your career will affect your future family speaks volumes to me. Based on that fact alone, I think that you would likely be the kind of doctor (like my husband) who will choose to make time for your family and do everything within your power to build a strong marriage. In my experience, the doctors who ignore the needs of their wives and families are the ones whose marriages are crumbling. If you both go into marriage with an understanding that it will be hard and there will be times when your training/career is going to have to take priority, but make a commitment to work together and respect and value each other, then I believe having a fulfilling, successful medical marriage is absolutely possible.

So, ladies, hang on to hope. What doesn't kill you will make you stronger...much stronger. You can do this. You will survive this and come out with a royal crown upon your weary head! It takes a whole lotta work and even more sacrifice, but you and your marriage will be stronger and more resilient on the other side.

Much love,

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Marital counseling

Ladies, this was posted in the comments. Any words of wisdom, advice, support or encouragement would be appreciated!

I am 34 old and married to a doctor, he is good on all respect but he can’t be able to concentrate on family as he was doing previously. I understand this is due to work load and many times he just satisfying their clients online all the night. Many times he got pager for an emergency calls then he go for patient treatment. Now I m getting very depressed and I tried to take Christian marriage counseling but he refused to go with me, I don’t know what I will do, please help me.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just for laughs

Let's all just keep a sense of humor about us and laugh a little. This isn't meant to offend anyone, I just thought it was pretty funny. :o)


Monday, August 10, 2009

dealing with dinnertime

My DH's intern year has begun in earnest. No more coming home at 5:30 or 6; he's beginning to work those long hours that are familiar to so many of you. I love to cook, and throughout our three-year marriage we've almost always eaten dinner together. Now, though, I can't predict when he'll be home to eat. Tonight I made a fantastic meal--seared scallops with corn coulis and a lovely summer salad of tomatoes and peaches--then sat and ate it all alone.

It's clear that I'm going to have to make some adjustments. Recipes that end in "Serve immediately" have just been pushed to the back of the box! What are some of your coping strategies for mealtimes during uncertain schedules? Have you made friends with the freezer? Do you have any standby recipes that taste (almost) as good after 2 hours?

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Okay, so I was in Canada last week. I suppose we should put up a new poll, eh? ;o)

Any thoughts or comments on the old one?


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Survivor Saturdays: Not So Elementary Etiquette

Going from young wife to Mrs. MD can be a real culture shock. There's no training and everyone seems to expect you to know how to behave. Even worse, you may have unreasonable expectations of yourself. You can't ignore etiquette, but don't get so hung up on what is proper and fail to be yourself. I break rules of etiquette all the time, sometimes because I forget, and sometimes because it seems inappropriate. I'm left-handed so if I'm around friends, I switch my drinks to the left side (so I don't have to reach over my food). I also seem to pass the food in the wrong direction more often than not... so what?! I don't talk with my mouth full, and I've only spilled a drink once. In an effort to make your transition a little easier though, I put together a few tips to help you gracefully grow into your new title.

The most common place where etiquette counts is the dinner party. Before you leave for an event, make sure you have at least $10 in ones for tips, and a hostess gift if you're going to someone's home. Your spouse is likely to forget, so consider this your responsibility.

HUSBAND HINT: Your husband should tip at least $1 to the valet who parks his car, $1 to the valet who retrieves his car, $1 to the person who watched his coat in coat check, and $1 for every drink he ordered from the cocktail bar. Some physicians are embarrassed handing only a dollar when they make so much money and may tip more according to their generosity.

"... have you met my wife?"
How do you want people to think of you? Do you want to be the shy wife who blends in with the wallpaper? Most young doctors wives are shy and nearly invisible at gatherings, but the few who show their personality light up the room! It's perfectly acceptable to be either one, but decide ahead of time so you can start things off on the right foot. If you want to show you're outgoing, offer a handshake as you're being introduced (always from a standing position) and say more than a simple "hello." Some male doctors won't shake your hand unless it's offered. It's perfectly alright to introduce yourself, too, if someone is standing alone. If you are friends with a female doctor, introduce them as Dr. ___ ___ even though you normally call her by her first name. If you're attending a party in someone's home, don't arrive empty-handed. I bottle of wine is always a great gift, but unique and inexpensive gifts are more memorable. Consider stocking up on good hostess gifts such as a pretty butter knife, table candle, or fancy kitchen soap/lotion.

HUSBAND HINT: Your husband should introduce higher ranking people to lower ranking people, not the other way around. He should also never shake a woman's hand unless she offers it first. For an explanation, see That Which We Call a Handshake. If a cocktail bar is available, your husband should offer to get others a drink when he goes for his own.

"... are you going to eat that?"
Dinner etiquette shouldn't prevent you from enjoying the meal. As long as you don't double dip, eat off someone else's plate, or blow your nose at the table, no one is likely to remember you for bad manners. That being said, there are some good rules to follow so everyone has a good time. It begins with being seated. If you're at a table with a host, do whatever the host does. If there is no host at the table, wait for everyone to be seated before reaching for a napkin. Food and dishes always come in from the left and leave to the right, so pass food to the right. If a waiter is delivering something new, he will likely approach you from the left. Likewise, at the end of a course, the empty dishes will likely be removed from the right. If you're eating buffet-style, it is polite to begin eating when at least four people have their food. Another easy rule to keep in mind is that you eat from the left, and drink from the right. In other words, your butter plate, dessert, etc. should be to your left and your water, wine, coffee should be to your right. If someone makes the mistake of using your bread plate, don't point out the blunder. Simply use the side of your dinner plate instead. If you want a refresher course just prior to an event, check out this Dining Etiquette Guide. Now that all this information has been given, you should know that doctors tend to break rules of etiquette more than most and these rules may fly out the window with the announcement to be seated.

HUSBAND HINT: If your husband is near a dish to be passed, he should offer the dish to the woman to his right and expect to be the last one to receive it. If you are that woman, you may offer for him to serve himself before you pass it to the right. If the food is being delivered to the table and at least four people have been served, your husband should invite those served to begin without him so their food doesn't get cold. If your husband is used to eating some of your food and this is not a battle you want to fight, compromise by teaching him to discretely switch plates with you rather than eating off of your plate (but never do this during a business dinner such as an interview).

"... so, tell me about yourself"
Conversation is usually the point to a gathering, whether it's a holiday party or a dinner interview. This is where friendships begin, office politics are put aside, and opinions are explored. Have some topics ready to talk about so you don't look like a mannequin. Find out what's new in the community, be aware of upcoming events, or be prepared to share something interesting you recently did. If conversation takes off into a discussion mostly in latin, turn to the nearest spouse and ask a question they're sure to be able to answer, such as "have you heard anything about that new restaurant in town?" or "are you planning any fun vacations?" Don't try to talk medicine with the pros! If there is no spouse around, wait for a break in the conversation and ask the physician something about him/herself, such as "where did you go to school?" or "how long have you been with ___ Medical Center?" It's a great way to be friendly without knowing anything about the person. If someone asks you about yourself, don't sell yourself short by saying you just stay home. Tell them what you like to do, how you met your husband, how many children you have... paint a picture of yourself. If you're new in town, take that opportunity to tell them you don't know many people and you would appreciate help getting connected. This is an opportunity for you to open the door to invite them over later.

HUSBAND HINT: Talking business is unavoidable, but your husband should make a conscious effort to keep it short and include everyone in a conversation when possible. If someone else is speaking (especially if it's a superior), he should not interrupt the other person or try to over-talk them. Listen more. Talk less. Doctors are so used to giving their opinion that they often don't know when one is uncalled for.

"... it was nice meeting you."
The end of the night is usually the most fun. The men have taken off their jackets and the women have probably kicked their shoes off under the table. Before you leave the party, make rounds to say goodbye to people who were especially friendly. Also, say goodbye to people you intended to approach earlier but weren't able to. Lastly, thank those who were in charge of the party and don't ignore the lower ranking people who probably did most of the work. If the party was held in someone's home, send a written thank-you in the mail the next day or two. If you made any new friends, be sure to call them within a week or two so they don't think you forgot about them.

HUSBAND HINT: Your husband should make an effort to say goodnight to spouses of superiors. He should also get your coat for you, get the car ready, and tip accordingly.

Dinner parties should be fun, so don't let a few judgmental people steal your fun. So you fumble here and there... those around you will still enjoy your company. More strict rules of etiquette apply to political and community events, job interviews, and business mixers. I'll have to cover those in another post since most of it applies to the high profile spouse.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bucket anyone?

I just have to share this funny story with you all. Last night my husband was on call and on that evening there was a prenatal class being held and at the last minute he was handed a list of topics and was told he would be leading the class. That right there is funny to me (isn't it funny how we see our spouses so differently than others that don't live with them?) I know that my husband is totally capable and a super hard worker but will the man put his underwear in the hamper already.....so anyway, he called me and told me that, and I was shocked that they hadn't given him more time to prepare. I thought back to our prenatal class together when we were pregnant with Grant(#1) and how much we cut up with everyone and immediately, I flashed that that was how he was going to lead the class.
Well, he did great and obviously is super professional in circumstances like these. I asked him later how it went and he said, "I think the husbands were more scared than the wives, especially when I started talking about having an episiotomy and 2nd, 3rd, & 4th degree tears." He then ran down some of the other topics he talked about as if everything was fine and nothing exciting happened. At the time, I was at Menard's home improvement store and was telling him about the rebates I was getting and stuff, and then all of a sudden he says, "Oh yeah and a lady threw up." SCREEEEEEEEEECH...................huh what?
The things that seem sooooooo important to share to me seemed like no big deal to him. Men and women are so different. So I said what, he said "Yeah, she kinda looked pale when I was talking about some unpleasant topics, but she looked fine and then, all of a sudden she just barfed everywhere." Poor woman, I would have loved to been there to know what he had said before and after, like I said before, I see him saying something like - Need a bucket? I know he said nothing of the sort but isn't strange how our husbands are like two totally different people? The husband and father that lets the dog lick dinner off our two year old or can't remember to take his dishes to the sink and then there's the doctor that has people's lives in their hands everyday, and they are like Superman.......strange.

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Dealing With Others' Mistakes

My husband just finished his first year of practicing medicine. The other day, he received a letter from the hospital stating another doctor was reviewing some of his cases from the past year. I'm not sure of the reasons for the procedure, except for the fact that it was his first year out of residency, and he's still in a kind of "probationary" period before he becomes a partner in his practice. Anyway, the letter stated most of his surgery cases looked fine, but it mentioned the fact that during one of them, a patient died of cardiac complications while he was operating, something unavoidable that he had handled just fine. He took the letter to his office manager because he never remembered a patient of his dying during surgery over the past year. They checked with medical records and found out that, not only did the patient die during a heart bypass surgery (my husband's an OB/Gyn), but also, the patient was a MAN (again, my husband is an OB/Gyn). Apparently, the person reviewing my husband's cases hadn't reviewed them very thoroughly because she would have seen that my husband had had no contact whatsoever with this patient. She must have only been reviewing cases by medical record numbers, which makes me believe that either the wrong doctor got connected with the wrong patient somewhere in the database, or the doctor reviewing my husband's cases looked up the wrong medical record number to begin with. Whatever the case, it made my husband laugh, but it made me frustrated for him. Such reviews probably go on his permanent record, and having wrong information there can give the wrong impression to others (employers and patients) later on. I know that his office manager and others are working on getting the mistake corrected, but still, it should never have happened. I think I'm most upset at the reviewer. If she didn't review this particular case as well as she should have, what else did she miss? Apparently, she also stated my husband did a laparoscopy case where the patient died. He doesn't remember that happening either, so his office is checking up on that case, too. There's another OB/Gyn in the area with a similar last name as my husband's, so, again, the case could have been connected with the wrong doctor. Have any of you and your spouses dealt with a situation like this? What did you do? I know that we humans aren't perfect, but still. This shouldn't have happened!


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cleveland, anyone?

Is anyone on here currently in Cleveland? I have lots of questions, if you don't mind. :D

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Hi, I suppose I should introduce myself to the group. My name is Rachel and after a quick google search of "doctor wives support group" I found this blog. It is so nice to find a group of women in the same situation. Whenever people find out I am married to a doctor, they automatically assume I am rich, conceited, and spoiled by a magical fairytale life. I have found that it is quite difficult for my friends to relate to my life. As you all know, being with a physician is quite different from being with anyone else. It is not uncommon for you to go 48 hours without seeing your poor, overworked husband. It is not unusual for him to be spending his limited time at home sleeping, studying, or preparing for a conference or presentation. It isn't uncommon to spend countless hours on the phone fighting with loan deferment companies. Some people don't understand that that you actually spent your anniversary, Christmas, etc. alone because your husband got screwed on the new call schedule- not because he doesn't care about you. And finally, people don't seem to understand that, not only are you not "spoiled" but that you have become an expert in delayed gratification :)
A little history:
I met my husband 6 years ago during his intern year. He was just beginning his urology residency in Utah (where I am from). For those of you whose husband did a surgical internship/residency know that intern year is no bed of roses :) To be honest, I am still amazed that we made it through (being a new relationship and all) but I am glad we did.
We now have a beautiful 2 year old girl and have another one on the way. She is due Sept 19. I am lucky enough to stay home with them until they start school. After which, I plan on pursuing a master's degree.
We moved to Texas last year for my husband's two year fellowship. It has been a little hard for me to live in a new place with no friends or family around. My daughter and I did a pretty good job of keeping busy during the winter months but now that the heat and humidity has intensified quite a bit, we find ourselves stuck in our apartment the majority of the day. I have come to the conclusion that the air conditioner to be my best friend in my 7th month of pregnancy :)
On the bright side, my husband has finally begun interviewing for jobs. It is a very surreal experience. He is very excited to finally see the opportunities available because of all his hard work. I think it is hard for him to adjust to the idea of being his own boss after so many years of being beaten down by power hungry attendings. He has interviewed at two places so far and we are going on a second interview this weekend. I can't lie, I'm pretty excited to finally see a flicker of light at the end of this long tunnel! My only disappointment, not finding this site 6 years ago :) Look forward to "getting to know" you all!


Survivor Saturdays - Housing Now and Then (subtitled: Dream a Little Dream)

I’ve hesitated writing on this topic for a while now because it always seems to come out as extremely pretentious and materialistic - and anyone who knows me well knows that those are the two qualities I loathe most. It’s not (I hope) me at all, but after talking it over with my BFF/Survivor Sista, Gretchen (she and I went through the trenches together and came out alive), she agreed that what I have to say is good advice.

OK, here goes. Let’s talk housing, girls. Specifically, how crummy it can be when you’re in training, but how it is OK to dream and plan because you know that it will get better in a few (long) years. If you’ve been keeping up with Melisa, you know just how crummy it can be.

My experience wasn’t quite as bad as Melisa’s. We lived in a tiny condo during med school and internship, and we lived in a relatively nice house – about 1800 square feet – during residency and fellowship. Our first child was born during MS4, and I used to take her for rides in her little red wagon around the parking lot of our condo complex. The kitchen was so small that you couldn’t open the dishwasher and the refrigerator at the same time. But it was home, and truly some of our best memories come from that itty bitty apartment.

During residency, the size of both our house and our family grew. We added another munchkin to the mix – they shared a bedroom, and all four of us shared a single bathroom. The kitchen was slightly larger, but I could still rinse out the mop in the sink and stretch the handle across the kitchen to rest on top of the stove. We didn’t have a pantry, so we used the hall closet. But it was home, and we were happy.

My husband grew up in a small town in a house situated on 7 acres of woods, and he had a fantastic childhood among all those trees. Our dream for our family has always been to have something similar – lots of trees, lots of room to explore, and the “cool” house where all the kids want to come over and play. Early in our marriage, we dreamed of and prayed for our home to be a “safe place” where everyone was welcome, where kids could come and know they are loved and cared for – not only our own children, but all of their friends as well. Our dream started to take shape as we grew in our marriage and as our kids started to grow up, but we knew that the fulfillment of this dream (at least the “cool house” part) was years and years away. And that was OK.

Somewhere in the middle of residency, we went on our first of many Parade of Homes tour. Many cities do this. The individual builders within a local homebuilders’ association showcase some of their new homes in hopes of drumming up some business and getting their names out there. In any case, it is the perfect opportunity for young, poor doctors’ wives to dream a little bit and, most importantly, do some mental planning. We would walk through these gorgeous homes, notepad in hand, carefully observing all the amazing features, taking note of what we really liked and what we didn’t. I started a file folder with the notes I had taken during the tours, floor plans, and pictures from magazines of features I really liked. (Most tours won’t allow you to take pictures.)

We walked through one home with Gretchen and her husband – this house was something like 6000 square feet. It was enormous. Gretch and I commented to each other how it was just too big. You could “lose your kids in this house”! The next week, we were sitting in her tiny kitchen in her tiny house while all four of our kids ran laps through the narrow hallway, through the kitchen, into the tiny sitting room, chasing each other, yelling at the tops of their adorable lungs. Gretchen looked over at me with a sly smile and yelled above the noise, “Remember that house? YOU COULD LOSE YOUR KIDS IN THAT HOUSE!"

I struggled with this topic because I don’t want you to be discontent with where you are. These long years are going to give you some precious memories. I promise you will someday look back on this time fondly. (Even you, Melisa.) These years will give you time to grow in your marriage, to struggle together, to dream together. As I’ve said before, if you can survive these years, you can survive anything.

But I want you to know that it is okay to dream because it’s not always going to be this hard. Looking through magazines, watching home design shows on TV, going on home tours – all of those things can give you a little bit of hope to keep going, keep persevering, keep struggling. Gretchen likened it to the visualization that you learn in Lamaze to lessen the pain of labor. At the very least, it's a fun diversion from your present reality.

When Michael was nearing the completion of his training and signed on with his new practice, we went to our new city to search for a new home. From all of our years of dreaming, we had a fairly good idea of what we wanted, and we found a great house. After living there for several years and going on several more home tours, we had an even better idea of what worked for us and what we could live without. Armed with more than ten years of dreaming and a hefty file folder full of notes and magazine clippings, we drew out a rough sketch of our dream house and took it to an architect. After a very long journey and many evil thoughts involving knocking our city council over the head with a 2x4, we should start building The House on 2.5 acres of woods by the end of the summer, hopefully moving in next spring, just after our fourteenth anniversary.

So go ahead. Dream. Take notes. Be content where you are, but form your opinions. Build your marriage while you build your file folder. It might be a while, but someday you’ll have a little more freedom to spread out.

You may even get to lose your kids in your house.

I'll be blogging our house building journey for the next 6-9 months (or more - eek!) over at my blog, starting here. You're welcome to join me for this crazy ride! ...though I may cure you of any desire to ever build a house! ;-)